Caf to incorporate new drink station in Spring

Gourmet Dining Services has implemented a new system into the Pirate Dining room for the spring semester.

The Hydration Station, which gives students an alternative route to drinking sugar-based drinks, will include an assortment of flavored drinks that taste similar to a sugared drink but do not include sugar.

“The Hydration Station is an alternative to the sugar based drinks currently offered. It is an assortment of waters infused with different flavors like assorted berry, cilantro and lime, lemon and orange, etc,” said Vice President of Operations, Anthony Frungillo. “We have run this program at NJIT for a semester and we have been getting tons of positive feedback.”

This is just one way that Gourmet Dining Services is making changes, however, the traffic among students in the Caf is becoming a growing problem.

According to the Frungillo, the Caf is busiest from Mondays through Thursdays during the hours of 12:15 p.m. -1p.m. and 5:30-6:15 p.m.
“We believe that the Pirate Dining Room is very busy during peak times, but there are always individual seats available,” said Frungillo.

The Pirate Dining Hall services over 450 commuter students, community members and residents with a meal plan daily. It is proven to be more popular than the commuter side among the students because of the percentage of food served within both the lunch and dinner periods.
Students are encouraged to plan out their schedule to find a happy medium within the dining hours.

“We are currently open for 2 hours and 45 minutes for our lunch period. We are now currently serving approximately 80% of the meals in a 50 minute period,” said Frungillo. “During dinner we are open for 3 hours and 45 minutes and we serve approximately 70% of the meals in a 60 minute period. Given the peak hours of dining, students can avoid the crowds by planning to dine outside of the peak hours mentioned above, if possible with their class schedule.”

Gourmet Dining Services has recognized the issues that the students are having with the seating and have addressed them within the past two years.

“Two years ago working with the university, we addressed this problem and had come up with two solutions,” said Frungillo. “We added an atrium off the back end of the cafeteria to provide additional seating and we increased our hours of operations.”

Frungillo adds, “We are always willing to hear student ideas and suggestions.”

Some have suggested the idea of to-go boxes in the buffet section of the cafeteria for those with meal plans, which would enhance and increase the amount of students who swipe compared to those who chose to grab a quick bite on the commuter side.

Freshman Evelina Rene feels the boxes would be more convenient for her schedule.

“I think there should be to -go boxes in the swipe side because you either don’t always have time to sit and eat or you do not want to,” said Rene. “It would be useful for people with meal plans so we don’t have to eat outside every time we’re in a rush.”

Freshmen Samantha Attissano feels that whenever she does not have time to swipe she is forced to eat on the outside, which causes her Pirate Bucks to deplete faster.

“The hours of the swipe side are weird and it forces you to use and run out of the Pirate Bucks for the commuter side faster,” said Attissano. “I prefer to have the to-go boxes on the swipe side because it would be a lot easier and it is fair to us in case we want some extra food.”

Senior Joe Murray also supports the idea of to-go boxes.

“I would want to-go containers not because the cafe is overcrowded,” said Murray. “The containers would make it easier for the students because there’s different food on the inside that is not offered on the outside and carrying a plate on the swipe side is difficult.”

Jacqueline DeBenedetto can be reached at jacqueline.debenedetto@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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